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Chemistry Investigation On Fullerenes

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Scientists have discovered over 249 different forms of viruses in human history! For centuries, the human race has been confronted by severe viral infections causing world or nation-wide pandemics, each time claiming thousands of lives and slowing the growth of humankind. But what if, after all these years there has proved to be an answer… FULLERENES.

Fullerenes are an allotrope of carbon; however, their structures differentiate from diamond and graphite which are also types of carbon. A fullerene molecule’s structure is based upon hexagonal rings joint by covalent bonds either single or double. Buckminsterfullerene (C60) was the first to be discovered, the atoms are joint by strong covalent bonds. It’s a hollow spherical shape alike a soccer-ball with weak intermolecular forces between molecules which means that it requires little energy to overcome, they are slippery and have a low melting point. (Bitesize, 2019) Being comparatively new and still under research, it was in 2003 when scientists found they may be beneficial in the medical industry.

Studies have demonstrated C60 has almost doubled rats’ lives (Becker, 2007), thanks to its biological, antioxidant and pharmacological properties which help through the prevention of cancer, infection and infectious diseases. Elder rats’ brains get revitalised after taking the molecule, they perform the same way as a 3-month-old rat when recalling a maze. The effects upon a human is the big question, a list of possibilities scientists have made in appendix (#1)

This investigation is focused on the claim that a fullerene can be used in the medical industry as an anti-viral agent. Anti-viral’s are specific types of medication which are used to help fight off viral infections, although they may not entirely kill the virus, their main duty is to lighten symptoms and decrease sickness-duration. They prevent harmful pathogens from becoming an overload where it may cause pathogenesis, this giving the body enough time to effectively and successfully fight-off the virus.

C60, provided by its unique molecular-structure, antioxidant-effect and biological-compatibility prove that fullerenes have the potential to be safely used as anti-viral agents that successfully combat viral outbreaks, without harmful side effects.

Research Question

It has been discovered that fullerenes are beneficial in the medical-industry, particularly as anti-vials due to their biological-compatibility (antiviral, antitumor and neuroprotective properties) as well as antioxidant and pharmacological-properties. What are the effects of C60 upon Influenza-A and HIV, is it worth introducing fullerenes instead of our already existent medication?

Analysis and Interpretation

A carbon Buckyball “C60” was discovered in 1985. It has since been utilised in the mechanical and electrical industry, additionally demonstrating results which look promising and advantageous for the medical industry. Not every fullerene is water soluble, although the ones that have the capabilities to dissolve in water have biological and pharmacological properties, these assets are valuable for inhibitory effects upon human HIV and other harmful virus’s like Influenza A.

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A global pandemic in 1918 caused by an influenza outbreak, caused over 50 million casualties and endangered humankind. Along with a reappearance of a new strain which emerged in 2009, immense concern and panic was established among the public. The virus is exceedingly lethal to humans and there is increasing terror that there is going to be another new breed of this virus. Currently we are in development for new strategies to shield ourselves against these viral infections for example, novel drugs which target and prevent future exposure. Medication such as neuraminidase compounds and oseltamivir are commonly used as antivirals on a wide-ranged group of viruses. They have recently been reported and removed from the medical industry and market since the emergence of harmful side-effects. Which include capabilities of giving the virus an ability to evolve and create a new clone of itself which is resistant to our medication. Without any working treatment alternatives we are left vulnerable and defenceless to these outbreaks, there is going to be large numbers of fatalities and developed cases, deceleration and slowing of cases will not be an option, instead rapidly increasing diagnosis’s will appear. Therefore, to prevent viral outbreaks we need a new kind medication, tougher and more efficient then what we have ever used, the issue is critical, and fullerenes could be our answer.

Many fullerenes and their classical derivatives are insoluble in water making their application in medical exceptionally difficult, numerous tests such as one by a research group, led by Skoltech Professor, Pavel Troshin (Skoltech, 2017) (This study has been published in the journal Organic And Biomolecular Chemistry) have been conducted upon water soluble fullerene derivatives and their inhibition efficiency effects upon HIV, Influenza-A and other viruses. Their latest investigation discovered a new reaction that acquired a series of previously unavailable water-soluble fullerene derivatives which displayed high anti-viral and inhibitory drug activity.

Their latest study which was focusing on the creation of exceedingly successful inhibitors of fatal viral infections like HIV, influenza A and others by using fullerene derivatives. A rare and inversed reaction was discovered from the events of the study which allows the antiviral properties of fullerenes to be altered by small change in the fullerenes structure. This exhibiting a correlation between the compound’s structure and antiviral activity.

Quality Of Evidence

C60 is proved to have numerous beneficial properties which may be useful, the medical the application has a difficulty that is crucial to overcome. When administered orally in the water-soluble form C60 is unable to be absorbed into the body, the solution is injection when injected C60 quickly is distributed to body tissues and organs. It’s additionally found to be excreted untouched by the kidneys and the acute toxicity is extremely low. All these attributes offer fullerenes a promising future in the medical industry as medical agents. A limitation of fullerene is that they have a tendency to repulse water, to overcome this methods are being studied and developed they include; synthesis of fullerene derivatives having a modified solubility profile, encapsulation of C60 in cyclodextrins or in calixarenes and/or water suspension preparations.

Anti-HIV: Protease an enzyme specific to HIV has an active site which could be described as an open-ended cylinder, coated by hydrophobic amino acids apart from two catalytic acids. As C60 has approximately the same diameter as the cylinder on the active site of HIV, the interactions between C60 and the active site of HIV are possible. Inhibition of HIV in the presence of C60 was exhibited through molecular bonding studies and observations. It was confirmed that virus inactivation was attainable from the activity of fullerenes (C60 particularly) against HIV.

Anti Influenza: It has been proposed that fullerenes can bind to the active site of PA endonuclease. A research group tested fullerenes against Influenza enzymes, it was shown that in a cell-culture-system fullerenes do in fact have inhibitory effects upon influenza A as well as the deceleration of nucleoprotein and non-structural protein 1. This has indicated that fullerenes are options in the development of anti-influenza drugs. Biological and pharmacological properties including antioxidant activity, inhibitory effects upon HIV proteases and DNA photocleavage, antiproliferative and antibacterial activity it’s anticipated that fullerene derivatives will be a anti-viral drug in the future.


Fullerenes in medicine is foreseeable in future, although there are some barriers to their application in medicine as anti-viral’s. First of all fullerenes are insoluble and instable to water, this is currently being resolved by the evolution of numerous water-soluble fullerene derivatives. Advancements that may partake in the immediate-future is the adoption of fullerenes in medicine, as it’s contemplated to be cost-insensitive implying that the high price of fullerenes will be adequate. Medicine often necessitate a strong demand to produce products this promising lower prices as there will be a greater demand and mass production. The preliminary biological investigations of fullerene derivatives as discussed above do promise encouraging results. Research efforts in both chemistry and biology should be to further investigate the potential applications of these interesting molecules and their medical application as they would make a fantastic anti-viral drug.

Fullerenes will be beneficial in the medical industry as anti-vials due to their biological compatibility, antioxidant and pharmacological properties. It has been proven that C60 has strong inhibitory effects upon HIV and Influenza A, although it is unknown what other viruses C60 or other fullerene derivatives may successfully combat, there are high expectations. With less side effects and better/faster results introducing fullerenes instead of our already existent medication is definite.

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Chemistry Investigation On Fullerenes. (2022, February 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 12, 2022, from
“Chemistry Investigation On Fullerenes.” Edubirdie, 24 Feb. 2022,
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